Portugal Team Fact Box

2010-05-11 16:46
Previous appearances in finals: 4

Nickname: Selecção das Quinas (National Team of the Five)

Best performance: 3rd place (1966)

Coach: Carlos Queiroz. Resigned as Alex Ferguson's assistant at Manchester United in July 2008 for a second stint as Portugal coach, having previously failed to qualify the side for the 1994 World Cup. Queiroz's tactics and selections attracted criticism during Portugal's poor start to qualifying, but a late surge ensured a berth at the finals and brought some relief.

Captain: Cristiano Ronaldo

Key players:

Cristiano Ronaldo
Age: 24
Position: Winger
Club: Real Madrid
FIFA World Cup Final appearances: 6 (2006)
Goals: 1

The world's most expensive player missed Portugal's last three matches through injury and did not score in any of the qualifiers before that, but will be a major threat if he can bring his prolific goalscoring, tricky runs and deadly free kicks at club level to the national side again.

Liedson
Age: 32
Position: Forward
Club: Sporting
FIFA World Cup Qualifier appearances: 6 (2010)
Goals: 2

Scored a crucial equaliser against Denmark in September on his debut shortly after obtaining Portuguese nationality. A natural poacher, he could be the goalscorer Portugal needs.

Pepe
Age: 26
Position: Midfield
Club: Real Madrid
FIFA World Cup Qualifier appearances: 11 (2010)
Goals: 1

Moved up by Queiroz to midfield from his normal defensive spot at Real Madrid, Pepe improved with every match and now plays a key role protecting the back four, as seen in the playoff against Bosnia.

FIFA world ranking May 2010: 5

How they qualified: A home defeat to Denmark and three consecutive draws left Portugal with an uphill task, but a last-gasp win in Albania proved a turning point. Portugal won the final three group games to book a playoff spot and then qualified by beating Bosnia with a 2-0 aggregate score.

Prospects: Have momentum and possess enormous talent, but prospects will depend on whether Queiroz can bring out the best of Ronaldo, solve a problem at the left-back position and deploy Liedson successfully to end Portugal's long-standing finishing weaknesses.

World Cup Squad

Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Braga), Daniel Fernandes (Iraklis), Beto (Porto)

Defenders: Miguel (Valencia), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Bruno Alves (Porto), Rolando (Porto), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Duda (Malaga), Fabio Coentrao (Benfica)

Midfielders: Pedro Mendes (Sporting), Pepe (Real Madrid), Tiago (Atletico Madrid), Deco (Chelsea), Raul Meireles (Porto), Miguel Veloso (Sporting)

Forwards: Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid), Danny (Zenit St Petersburg), Liedson (Sporting), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Nani (Manchester United)



Currently the 2nd best player in the world (Castrol Index), Cristiano Ronaldo (centre) could prove a decisive factor if Portugal are to progress at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. (AFP)
Read more on: portugal

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